MiR-203 downregulation is responsible for chemoresistance in human glioblastoma by promoting epithelial-mesenchymal transition via SNAI2.

PMID 25871397


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been recognized as a key element of cell migration, invasion, and drug resistance in several types of cancer. In this study, our aim was to clarify microRNAs (miRNAs)-related mechanisms underlying EMT followed by acquired resistance to chemotherapy in glioblastoma (GBM). We used multiple methods to achieve our goal including microarray analysis, qRT-PCR, western blotting analysis, loss/gain-of-function analysis, luciferase assays, drug sensitivity assays, wound-healing assay and invasion assay. We found that miR-203 expression was significantly lower in imatinib-resistant GBM cells (U251AR, U87AR) that underwent EMT than in their parental cells (U251, U87). Ectopic expression of miR-203 with miRNA mimics effectively reversed EMT in U251AR and U87AR cells, and sensitized them to chemotherapy, whereas inhibition of miR-203 in the sensitive lines with antisense oligonucleotides induced EMT and conferred chemoresistance. SNAI2 was identified as a direct target gene of miR-203. The knockdown of SNAI2 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) inhibited EMT and drug resistance. In GBM patients, miR-203 expression was inversely related to SNAI2 expression, and those tumors with low expression of miR-203 experienced poorer clinical outcomes. Our findings indicate that re-expression of miR-203 or targeting SNAI2 might serve as potential therapeutic approaches to overcome chemotherapy resistance in GBM.